The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. There are many reasons for this, but here are a few of the most important:
- Orthodontists can spot problems with baby teeth and new teeth that others may not see
- Your child’s bite could have a problem that only an orthodontist can detect and, if caught early, the orthodontist can identify an effective treatment plan to fix the child’s bite before it gets too hard to manage.
- Early treatment gives your orthodontist the chance to guide jaw growth, lower risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, and guide permanent teeth to a better position.
- Most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9-14, so it is important to get your child an appointment with the orthodontist so there can be plenty of time to discuss treatment options, if necessary.
- A child’s teeth are more easily manipulated at a young age – the more teeth that turn from baby teeth into adult teeth makes it harder for the mouth to conform to what the orthodontist needs it to do. If treatment is started early, the teeth will move much more quickly, resulting in faster treatment.
If you notice any of the following problems with your children, you should notify an orthodontist immediately:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Grinding or clenching the teeth
By taking your child to the orthodontist early, you are essentially giving them the best shot possible at a happy, healthy smile they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.